A replacement is planned for the Montreal Olympic Stadium roof, with a new retractable roof to be installed by the 2026 World Cup.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico had been accepted for the 2026 World Cup, beating out a competing proposal from Morocco. The 80 scheduled matches will be spread out among the three countries, including 60 in the United States and 10 each in Mexico and Canada.
Multiple games are expected to take place in Montreal, with Olympic Stadium factoring into those plans. Several changes will be made to the venue prior to the games, including the installation of a new retractable roof. The roof replacement was something that officials were planning prior to the World Cup announcement, but it is expected that the $200-$300 million roof will be installed in time for the games in 2026. More from the Montreal Gazette:
Since the World Cup — at least on the men’s side — must be played on grass, the artificial turf at Olympic Stadium will need to be replaced and the roof will need to open. A retractable roof was part of French architect Roger Taillibert’s original design, but the tower to support it wasn’t finished in time for the 1976 Olympics and once it was the roof was able to retract for only a short period of time before it was replaced with a fixed roof. [Montreal city councillor Rosannie] Filato said the cost of the new roof would be between $200 million and $300 million.
In November, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced the government would spend at least $200 million on a new roof for the Big O
“Before even giving our official candidacy of the city of Montreal (for the World Cup as part of the United 2026 bid) the (Olympic Installations Board) and the provincial government already said that they were going to invest the money in the retractable roof,” Filato said. “So it’s great news to hold the FIFA World Cup, but it’s already money that was going to be invested and I think that’s important. … We adopted an action plan to see how we can attract large sporting events as well. So it’s a great investment for this specific event and it’s a great investment in general.”
Filato said the city estimates the financial return from hosting World Cup games will be around $200 million.
Olympic Stadium originally opened for the 1976 Summer Olympics, and became the home of baseball’s Montreal Expos from 1977-2004. The Expos relocated to Washington after the 2004 season, but Olympic Stadium has been used for other events in the years since, including select matches for MLS’s Montreal Impact.
Image courtesy Montreal Impact.